‘Wal-Mart Girls’ not real, just music marketing tool

Filed under: Retail |

Promoting his new single, country music artist Danny Griego ran a TV commercial during a college football bowl game featuring scantily dressed “Wal-Mart Girls.”

Miramonte Records paid $112,000 to air the 30-second ad twice in a bid to promote the single and create hype for the Web site, walmartgirlssong.com. Within 24 hours of the ads airing, the site logged 65,000 hits, and more than 6,000 users played the music video online.

The CD can be ordered from the site, but the album won’t be released until Feb. 14.

So far there is no collaboration with the retail giant and it is unknown whether Wal-Mart will back the song or carry it in stores.

Griego also is launching his own MySpace page and running the commercial on 1,088 screens in 94 theatres across the Southwest, along with a radio promotion at 600 country music stations.

Holiday retail spending

For the first time, online retail spending will top $100 billion for a year, according to CNNMoney.com.

Consumers spent 26 percent more online during the 56 days before Dec. 26, 2006, compared to 2005, according to comScore Networks, excluding spending on travel.

During the week before Christmas, shoppers spent 38 percent more than they did in 2005.

Online retail spending now accounts for 7 percent of all U.S. retail spending, excluding food, automobiles and gas.

Leaders in online sales this holiday season included jewelry and watches (up 67 percent), video game consoles (up 63 percent) and consumer electronics (up 39 percent).

Popular gift categories included video games (up 64 percent), event tickets (up 55 percent), toys (up 35 percent), sport and fitness (up 32 percent), and apparel and accessories (up 30 percent).

According to comScore Networks, between Nov. 1 to Dec. 26, Amazon.com topped the list, followed by Dell.com, Yahoo.com and Walmart.com.

And an analysis of leading retailers by percentage increase in sales from 2005 to 2006 found that consumer electronics retailer Bestbuy.com achieved the greatest gains, followed by Walmart.com and Ticketmaster.com, with each of the sites experiencing gains in excess of 50 percent.

For the full year 2006, total online retail spending, excluding travel-related purchases, reached $102.1 billion, marking a 24 percent increase compared to 2005.

Online retail spending saw 12 days during the November/December holiday season surpassing the $600 million mark. The heaviest online spending day of the year was Dec. 13, with $667 million spent.

Online holiday e-commerce accounted for $24.6 billion, up 26 percent compared to last year. ComScore initially had expected holiday sales on the Internet to grow 24 percent to $24.3 billion.

Shopping center update

According to the MAC Holiday Index, a weekly report of shopping trends at 12 Macerich super-regional shopping centers across the country, retailers has a strong end to the final full week before Christmas. Despite the snow storm in the Rockies, which caused delays for thousands of air travelers throughout much of the country, traffic counts were up 36 percent that final week, according to ShopperTrak reports.

As predicted, department stores had a strong season with average sales up 5.6 percent compared to last year for many department store chains. The double-digit increases in sales each week are expected to continue as consumers take advantages of post-holiday sales and discounts.

Preppy Pet Suites expands

Preppy Pet has announced its 12th franchise territory license agreement in less than a year. Thomas and Ela Mitchell plan to open a Colorado Springs location in late spring or early summer.

President and CEO Jerry Gore opened the first pet boarding center in Orlando, Fla., in 2003. The center offers upscale pet boarding and doggie daycare with pampering options.

December chain stores

With last-minute holiday shopping, the sales increase for U.S. chain stores during December was higher than expected.

U.S. chain store sales increased 3.1 percent, on a year-over-year basis, according to International Council of Shopping Center’s index.

The forecast was 2.5 percent for December. For the November/December holiday season, chain store sales posted a 2.8 percent gain, which was in line with ICSC’s projections of a 2.5 percent to 3 percent gain for the season.

The 2005 holiday season posted a 3.6 percent increase.

Leading sectors for the month were luxury chain stores and wholesale clubs, which saw sales increase by 8.2 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively for December. Department chain stores continued to post healthy results as sales rose 3.6 percent in December.

The other sectors that posted increases were drug stores (7.2 percent) and discount stores (2.3 percent). Apparel chain stores suffered, and saw sales decline by 0.9 percent.

“More so than in past seasons, this holiday season came down to the week before Christmas as consumers waited to the last minute to complete their shopping,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “Overall, this holiday season was a moderate one for retailers with some sectors performing stronger than others. As we look toward January, we expect comp-store sales to increase by 2.5 to 3 percent as consumers begin to redeem their gift cards in earnest.”

Joan Johnson covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.